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HH Srimad Andavan Thirunakshatram Celebrations

From: Shyam Sreenivasan (shyam.sreenivasan_at_msdw.com)
Date: Mon Jun 12 2000 - 12:53:06 PDT

Sri:
Sri Rangaramanuja Mahadesikaya Namaha

The spiritual wealth of our sacred land lies in the spread of pure
renunciation. Our great Acharyas have preserved the traditions unbroken
through the ages and aglow with ever fresh revelance to changing
circumstances of contemporary times. As Swami Vedanta Desika says in
NyAsa Vimsati (slokam 2),

AgNyana DwAntha RoDhAth aga pariharanAdh Atma sAmyAvahatvAth
Janma pradhvamsi janma pratha garimathayA divya drushti prabhAvAth
NishprathyuhA nrusamsyAth niyatharasathayA nithya sEshitva yOgAth
AchAryA: sadbhir aprathyupakaranadhiyA dEvavath sYAdhupAsya:

The sloka says that  "The spiritual preceptor should be worshipped like
God by the virtuous, by doing devoted service, which will still never be
able to re-pay him. This is because an acharya dispels the darkness of
ignorance, wipes out one's sins, confers equality of himself, gives a
spiritual birth that prevents rebirth, bestows divine knowledge and has
a permanent masterhood over his disciple."

As an acharyan of Srimad Andavan Periaashramam guru paramparai, His
Holiness Sri Ranga Ramanuja MahaDesikan has uplifted many a soul to the
holy feet of Lord Narayana through Samasrayanam and Prapatti to bring
deliverance to thousands of disciples from ever revolving samsAra. The
only little things we can do for all help we receive are : Sing His
praise, remember His deeds in mind and spread his greatness.

Our Ashramam sishyas who are the members of Sri Ramanuja Mission of
Srirangam Andavan Ashramam (established by prakrutam Andavan for the
sishyas of Andavan Ashramam outside India), celebrated the 66th
thirunakshatram of His Holiness Srimad Rangaramanuja Maha Desikan on
June 4, 2000 at Sri Kesavan Kannan's residence and Sri Ramanuja
Mission's headquarters in Maryland, USA. The event was well attended by
more than 50 Bhagavathas from Srimad Andavan's sampradayam and other
Sampradayams. Sri Kesavan Kannan & Sri Nadadur Madavan hosted the
Sishyas of various sampradayams at their residences.

Sri P. Sreenivasa Iyangar (Retd Dy.M. Ashok Leyland), along with
office-bearers of the Mission, received the padukais of all the the
poorvacharyas of our Andavan sampradayam for this occasion from Sri
Poondi Vijayaraghavan. Sri P. Sreenivasa Iyangar performed the Perumal
Thiruvaradhanam and Paduka Aradhanam for all the padhukas. Sri V.
Desikan Iyangar ( retd. Madras Telephones ) and Sri Kesavan Kannan led
the Veda Parayana Ghoshti, chanting the Upanishads, Seeksha Valli,
Ananda Valli and Brighu Valli. Grandhaparayanam namely, Sri
Sundarakandam Of Srimad Valmiki Ramayanam and Sriramapattabhishekam were
also recited. After Satrumarai, Perumal Sambhavanai and Acharya
sambavanai for all acharyas were performed. During and after the perumal
and paduka theertha viniyogam, Sri Shyam Sreenivasan along with his
brother Sri Venkat Sreenivasan led the parayanam of Gadhya Thrayam,
Paduka Sahasram (Maragadha paddathi, Indraneela paddhathi) and many
Sthothras from Sri Desika Sthothra Mala of Sri Nigamantha Maha Desikan,
including Hayagreeva Sthotram, Dasavathara Sthothram, Raguveera
Ghathyam, Sudarshnashtakam, Shodasaayudha Sthothram, Garuda Dhantakam,
Yathiraja Sapthathi, etc. was recited. It was a pleasure to listen to
Raghuveera Ghadhyam, recited in the same tune as in Srimad Andavan
Ashramam.

It was indeed a bhagyam for the sishyas to get the paduka-darshanam and
paduka theertham of all our acharyas so far away in America.  After the
gosthi, Sri Kesavan Kannan, Srimathi Mythili Kannan and Chi. Badri
Narayanan offered thatheyaradhanai for all the bhagavathas assembled for
the occasion at their residence.

The highlight of the day was the presence of HH Sri Sri Sri Thridhandi
Ramanuja Chinna Jeer on the occasion.  Sri P.Sreenivasa Iyangar and Sri
Vasudevachariar of Srimad Andavan Ashramam (who was incidentally in
Washington to perform the Koti Archana at Sri Siva Vishnu Temple)
received HH Jeer with Purna Kumbham and Swasthi Vachanam. HH Thridhandi
jeer performed the Satrumurai and delivered an exhilirating lecture on
the signifance of Acharyas in Sri Vaishnavite tradition by quoting from
Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, Naalayira Dhivya Prabandam and Sri Swami
Desikan's Thathparya Chandrikai.

Quoting from Bhagavad Gita, "Yadha Yadah Hi Dharmasya.. thadhatmanam
srjami aham", HH Jeer expounded that Sriman Naryana manifests Himself
(his atma) as He is, whenever there is danger for Dharma or there is
huge preponderance of Adharma.  Though the creation of Athman may imply
an incarnation of Sriman Narayana, HH Jeer, again quoting from the 7th
chapter of Bhagavad Gita, "gnanithu Aathmaiva me matham", explained that
Sri Krishna Himself proclaims "one who is a Gnani becomes my Aathma". To
which Arjuna confronts Krishna - "You are the Aathma for everyone. You
are the Antharyaami. How can there be an aathma for you ?".  Krishna
replies

- There are four kinds of people who worship me; They are
(1). Aaarthar - people who lose their wealth
(2). Ardharthi - people who seek new wealth (after losing it )
(3). Jihvasu Aathmadarsanam - people who adore themselves
(4). Gnani - One who thinks of me all the time ("Unnum Soru, paruguneer,
thinnum verrilayumellam kannan emperuman yenrae kangal neermalgi"
iruppavargal).

Among these people, whoever is gnani becomes my Aathma.

HH Jeer tied the words from Sri Krishna to the fact that the entire life
and actions performed by a body is defined by the Soul.  Just like the
soul provides the life to the body, Acharya's presence illustrates and
expands the presence of Perumal to others.  Just like a Gnaani becomes
the soul of Sri Krishna, Acharyas become the guiding light to their
sishyas and preach to them about the existence of Perumal and His
Gunadhisayams. He highlighted that "one such great acharya is our parama
hamsethyadhi Sri Ranga Ramanuja Mahadesikan Andavan swami".

He recalled with fondness his association with Srimad Prakrutham
Andavan's poorvashramam's teacher - Sri Gopalacharya Swami in a place
called Adige Dabbayam, where both the Acharyas learnt Vedanta
scriptures.  He recalled vividly the pleasure of visiting Srimad
Andavan's Ashramam of the 60th Thirunakshatram of Srimad Prakrutham
Andavan in Srirangam.  He also expressed his profound happiness that his
association (sambhandham) with Srimad Prakrutham Andavan continues even
in Washington area, through his participation at HH Thirunakshatram
event.

In conclusion, HH Jeer explained that Sri Nigamantha Maha Desikan's
works served as a moat (aran in tamil) for the Ramanuja Siddhanta, and
that Srimad Andavan, coming in that illustrious lineage of great
Acharyas, is carrying the tradition of preserving and nurturing the
works of Sri Nigamantha Maha Desika and Ramanuja Siddhantha.  He
reminded that it is a duty of all the Sishyas to appeal to his wishes
and stay the path of righteousness.

In short, it was an exhilirating day of varied experiences - Perumal &
Padhuka Aradhanam, Listening to the chantings of Veda, Swami Desika
Stotras, Acharya Thanians, being in the good company of fellow Sri
Vaishnavas (koodi irundhu kulirnthalor embavai) and being blessed by HH
Thrithandi Jeer.  There is no better way than is to spend the day of our
Andavan's Thirunakshatram in this fashion, except being with the Acharya
in India, during the celebrations.

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